Lexus LFA widebody on the 'ring - what's going on?

A Nurburgring lap time is pretty much de rigueur for any supercar manufacturer wanting to claim credibility for their latest mid-engined tearaway. What tends to be forgotten, however, before a new time was seemingly posted nearly every single day, is what Lexus achieved back in 2011: an LFA Nurburgring Package, with just the 570hp remember, lapped the Northern Loop in 7:14.64. On Bridgestone Potenzas. Bear in mind that a 670hp Ferrari 488 GTB could only do a 7:21.63 in the hands of sportauto half a decade later, and you can see what an achievement that is.

So to see a Nurburgring Package car back at its spiritual home is extremely intriguing, the natural assumption surely that Lexus must want some additional glory for its iconic supercar. Think how far tyre technology has come since 2011, rubber like the Michelin Cup 2 R delivering near slick levels of grip with road homologation, and it's clear to see how huge chunks of time could be taken from that original lap time.

Then again, perhaps not. Our spy photographer who provided these shots suggested that 'race tyres' were being used, implying this LFA is running on slicks. Which it does seem to be in some images, the wheel and tyre combo looking very similar to that seen on the RC F GT3. Then in others the LFA is half and half, front wheel running a regular Nurburgring Package rim, the rears this race wheel, and appearing to run a Michelin Cup 2 tyre of some description. Curious.

The disguise around the arches would suggest extensions to accommodate wider tyres, again lending further credence to the idea of a lap time attempt. They even have racing driver Yuji Tachikawa behind the wheel, Japanese Super GT champ with - you guessed it - Lexus, in 2001, 2005 and 2013. Why bother getting a professional involved if there's not something serious at hand?

Of course the final theory (for now, at least), is that this car could be a development mule for a future Lexus supercar. It's not like there's another suitable product in the Toyota empire with which to cloak a future halo product, though from here it looks remarkably like the LFA - not the sort of bitsa special the early prototypes tend to be.

Whatever, this is nothing more than conjecture, educated guesses (or otherwise) at what Lexus might be doing with an LFA at the Nurburgring many years after it went out of production. If you know more, or care to make your own predictions, then we're all ears - what the heck is going on?

[Images: S.Baldauf/S.B. Median]


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Comments (34) Join the discussion on the forum

  • fernando the frog 11 Oct 2018

    my favourite supercar of all time

  • bolidemichael 11 Oct 2018

    Perhaps they're just having a bit of fun

  • RacerMike 11 Oct 2018

    I wouldn't get too excited chaps. It's more than likely just doing some tyre testing. A number of other manufacturers do similar things, Mazda for instance using a leggy RX8. My suggestions would be some GT3 slick testing for their GT3 car. You're not allowed to run full race cars in Industry Pool, but a modified roadcar on slicks......not a problem.

  • rb_89 11 Oct 2018

    I do love the LFA.. something just right about it.

    A man can day dream...

  • 3yardy3 11 Oct 2018

    Clarkson claimed for many years that his favourite car was the Ferrari F40 (Also Mine) and he replaced the Ferrari with the Lexus on the Top Gear American road trip... Must be one hell of a car!!

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